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Plant J. 2006 May;46(4):649-57.

AtCHIP functions as an E3 ubiquitin ligase of protein phosphatase 2A subunits and alters plant response to abscisic acid treatment.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX 79409, USA.


CHIP proteins are E3 ubiquitin ligases that promote degradation of Hsp70 and Hsp90 substrate proteins through the 26S proteasome in animal systems. A CHIP-like protein in Arabidopsis, AtCHIP, also has E3 ubiquitin ligase activity and has important roles to play under conditions of abiotic stress. In an effort to study the mode of action of AtCHIP in plant cells, proteins that physically interact with it were identified. Like its animal orthologs, AtCHIP interacts with a unique class of ubiquitin-conjugating enzymes (UBC or E2) that belongs to the stress-inducible UBC4/5 class in yeast. AtCHIP also interacts with other proteins, including an A subunit of protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A). This PP2A subunit appears to be a substrate of AtCHIP, because it can be ubiquitylated by AtCHIP in vitro and because the activity of PP2A is increased in AtCHIP-overexpressing plants in the dark or under low-temperature conditions. Unlike the rcn1 mutant, that has reduced PP2A activity due to a mutation in one of the A subunit genes of PP2A, AtCHIP-overexpressing plants are more sensitive to ABA treatment. Since PP2A was previously shown to be involved in low-temperature responses in plants, the low-temperature-sensitive phenotype observed in AtCHIP-overexpressing plants might be partly due to the change in PP2A activity. These data suggest that the E3 ubiquitin ligase AtCHIP may function upstream of PP2A in stress-responsive signal transduction pathways under conditions of low temperature or in the dark.

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